Sing Street: A Hit-or-Miss?
In early September, I attended a pre-Broadway musical titled 'Sing Street' directed by Rebecca Taichman and showing at the Huntington Theatre. Before Covid, it was supposed to debut on Broadway but got pushed back. The musical takes place in Dublin in,1982, and surrounds a sixteen-year-old Conor (Adam Bregman) who tries to impress Raphina (Courtnee Carter), a mysterious girl who stands all day at the telephone booth outside his strict Catholic school. While impressing Raphina, he asks her to be the star of his band's new music video… if only he had a band. He teams up with his classmates as they utilize music to escape their troubled home lives and bring their struggling community together.
I have researched numerous other reviews on Sing Street, and they all seem to focus on the story's young lovers, who are key figures in the musical, however, I believe they are not the primary message. A crucial character who stuck out to me was Conor's older brother, Brendan (Dónal Finn), and his sister Anne (Alexa Xioufaridou Moster), and how they push Conor to follow his dreams, even though Brendan was never able to follow his. The story surrounds three siblings and the complicated yet wholesome relationship they share, even through disastrous moments in their home life. The three represent hope for the town and each other as they learn to break free of what weighs them down, some not as fast as others, but slowly they begin to remember what it feels like to breathe.
The set and digital design in the musical represent the characters' rebellion and a visual stimulus for the bonds that hold them there. There is definitely a School of Rock vibe to the show. There are many set design choices representing the tie Brendan has to the town, as he once was an angsty teenager running away and now refuses to leave the house in fear of the outside. For example, in the beginning, a structure of a miniature house is pulled apart to reveal the inside of Conor's home. Similarly, at the end of the show, Brendan is shown having the house close in on him, representing him still being stuck in his fears.
Also, the ability of this cast is incredible. A specialized cast is needed since every actor must play numerous instruments showcased throughout the performance. The music transports the audience back to the 80s as it recaptures the passing time and freezes the audience in a bubble of teenage angst and hope.
Although, it is inevitable for a show to have its flaws. For example, the singing does not commence until 30-45 minutes into the show. In the beginning, it was odd to witness a musical that did not open with a jaw-dropping number for the first song of the performance. Although besides the limited singing in the first half an hour, when the music does kick in, you are blown away by the concert-like nature of the performance, as some scenes are solely comprised of the cast jamming out to songs and living their best life. The ideology of freezing time comes into perspective because the audience gets lost in the music besides focusing on the song's purpose in the storyline. Another criticism I have for the show is the pace. This is a common mistake in pre-Broadway musicals, as they want to include complicated storylines and characters when they simply do not have the time to delve into every detail. Numerous scenes in the show could be cut or shortened as they provide little overall impact on the performance, which would also be helped by songs in the beginning. If they make these changes, I believe this musical could be a hit on Broadway.
In conclusion, Sing Street was unique. Whether that be the musicality, relationships, or the message of hope strung throughout the show. As a fellow teen, I can see this musical being a hit with the present generation, as it presents a raw teenage experience filled with chaos and love, and what is truly better than that?